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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to listen to John Farahi speak on business success. John Farahi is the CEO of Monarch Casino & Resort Inc. who own and operate the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, NV. In spite of the tough economy and declining casino industry, Monarch Casino & Resort Inc. is growing. Here are John’s tips for business success: 

Opportunity can be anywhere

When John Farahi’s father David first moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1970 he began looking for a business. When he was told of the Golden Door Motel (the original site of the Atlantis Casino Resort) in Reno, NV he initially dismissed it saying:

‘I did not come to the U.S. to go to Reno, NV, I’m not interested.’

Some how he was persuaded to take a look and realized that there was actually a lot of opportunity to be had in the hospitality industry in Reno, NV.

Surround yourself with honest & successful people

Distancing oneself from people with issues is another of Farahi’s recommendations. He encourages entrepreneurs starting out to approach people who have experienced success in your desired industry and to ask question after question to learn from them.

Don’t give up

John and his brothers took over the Golden Door Motel in 1976. The motel struggled in its early years and the brothers found themselves doing every job in the resort, to try to turn the business around.

Later when trying to build the Atlantis Casino Resort, the brothers had to fight the city of Reno in court to get casino-zoning laws changed. Financing was also extremely challenging and the brothers became accustomed to hearing ‘no’ a lot. John says that in business there are always obstacles to overcome and you can never hit every mark perfectly. Thus it is important to be tenacious, work hard and not give up when you encounter hurdles.

Do your homework

In Fall 2011, Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. began the process of acquiring Black Hawk Casino in Colorado from Riviera Holdings Corporation. Prior to this acquisition the company had spent five years researching the area, looking at every property in their industry, evaluating restaurants, what the market was missing and what resources would be needed to get the property up to par. Once the acquisition is complete the company will evaluate every employee at the resort in order to build a good team.

What was good yesterday may not be tomorrow

John Farahi talked about the importance of being willing to continually change and take risks. In 1993 when Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. looked to go public, many people thought they were making a crazy decision. However, after many rejections they succeeded in going public, raising enough funds to build the Atlantis’ second tower.

Today the company has starting making moves into the Internet gaming industry, which may offer the opportunity for future joint ventures. Farahi believes that being a brick and mortar company will enable them to offer better customer incentives (such as resort stays) relative to what Internet gaming companies can offer.

What tips would you give new entrepreneurs on how to be successful in business? Please share in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Ken Lund

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